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Posted: 1/5/2003 11:20:33 PM EDT
I'm going to be starting classes this March in New England Tech's electrician program.

We have the choice of buying the tools through the school or on our own.  Now, I already have most of the tools on the list and the school offers the tools only as a complete package, so I figure I'll buy the rest on my own.

One thing I don't have is a multitester, and I'm hoping that someone here can help me out.  I'd like one that is of "professional quality" but I don't want to spend too much, either.

I'd appreciate any suggestions on brand and neccessary features.  It should also be simple enough to learn on.

Link Posted: 1/5/2003 11:40:56 PM EDT
I'd suggest digital since (other than for the very low-end) they're cheaper and easier to use.  It used to be with digital multimeters you had to buy Fluke or HP to get something that worked well.  Now, all of the meters I've seen lately, even the very cheapest ones, work pretty well.  I'd suggest something with AC voltage (up to 1000V, usually), DC voltage, AC current (up to 10A is nice), DC current, resistance, and a diode check.   A battery check would also be nice, but most of the better quality meters don't have that.  None of my meters are autoranging, but if you're new at it, that might be a worthwhile feature for ease of use.  I don't think you can really go wrong.  Expect to pay about $50 for a basic cheap meter or about $100 for a low-end Fluke.   The Fluke Model 10 is a good basic meter.  The new Fluke 112, sells for about $160, has a backlight.  Depending on how you're going to use it, the backlight could be worth the extra money.z
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 12:00:48 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 12:29:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 2:57:24 AM EDT
Fluke. Get the clamp-on ammeter probes, or, if you can afford it, a separate clamp-on ammeter. Current measurements are a million times easier (and safer) with them. I also bought a DC clamp-on current sensor which is very handy for automotive work.

Link Posted: 1/6/2003 3:16:17 AM EDT
I calibrate meters on a frequent basis. If you want one of the best in digital go with the fluke. They are not cheap but will last you a very long time.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 3:27:04 AM EDT
Another vote for Fluke. I have one that is 12 years old and still going strong.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 3:32:50 AM EDT
FLUKE is the way to go.  Even the low end models are great.  

Link Posted: 1/6/2003 3:35:43 AM EDT
Another Fluke vote.  But you might also consider getting the same one the school offers to be consistant with the instructions given in class.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:19:55 AM EDT
I work in the electronics industry and use a multimeter everyday. Everyone at my company (1000's of people) are issued Fluke 77's. Fluke makes the best meters on the market and remember, you'll still be using this thing when you get out of school, so don't go cheap.

New Flukes can be had on eBay for less than $100.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:21:47 AM EDT
Fluke hands down.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:24:11 AM EDT
I'm  an electronic engineer by trade.
At our company (about 125 employees), 99% of all the multimeters we use are Fluke 77III's.
I have a Beckman in my home toolbox - it works fine and does the job, but I prefer the Fluke.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:26:19 AM EDT
 Cheap test equipment is the poorest economy.  I used an Amprobe RS3 for almost 20 yrs, and I broke before it did.  They werent cheap then, and are more now.
 Having said that, for a GP meter, go Fluke.  You can buy a bunch of cheap meters, and bet your life that its working, or get one Fluke and be done with it.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:32:23 AM EDT
I assume you're talking apprentice classes>
If that's the case I'd reccommend a Fluke T5-600. I use one daily and they're not nearly as expensive as the 87. I have a 189 also but use the T5 cause it's handy, accurate and cheaper if I happen to destroy it somehow or loose it, and for my carry around meter the T5 is my choice. It is combo multimeter & clampless clamp-on ammeter ( which is pretty accurate against my other fluke clamp-on) , has built in leads and goes for around $70. Only drawback that I've had is that the amprobe only goes to 100a but thats within probably 90% of what you'll see for a while.
pm me if you've got more ?

Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:47:15 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 9:09:55 AM EDT
Fluke is the weapon of choice but I find that Radio Shark has some decent models for half the price.  These will do nicely if you don't have the $$ right now.  I personally use Fluke but keep a Radio Shark model on hand for a loaner.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 9:17:02 AM EDT
I am a EE and pick the Fluke 87 as my DMM of choice. I only wish they were easier on batteries.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 9:23:50 AM EDT
Fluke is the way to go
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 9:35:41 AM EDT

Real men use Simpson 260's.   It's got a handle (which means it's portable).  


I would be absolutely afraid to hit a line operator in the head with one of those wee Flukes - not so with the trusty Simpson.  Plus they're BIG, I don't know how many of them tiny Flukes I've lost in the rolls of fat around my belly.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 5:43:08 PM EDT
You should also look at AEMC Corporation.
The AEMC brand is professional and very reliable.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:41:11 PM EDT
Another vote for Fluke! Been working in Electronics for almost 30 years and have never even seen a Fluke meter go bad (unless it was mis-treated). They are top notch quality!

As others have said, also get an Analog meter, get a cheap Radio Shack meter, until you can save up the money for a Simpson.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 11:31:20 PM EDT
 I can't believe that no one has told you to also get a solenoid type voltmeter, commonly known as a "Wiggy". Most of the time, that will be the meter that you use, just seeing if something is hot or not.
 I have had a fluke 77 for years, and yes, it gets used, but far and away, the Wiggy and the tick tracer get the most use.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 11:34:46 PM EDT


Mmmmmm, Simpson....

Got one of these, also. Electrician swag. Very nice, and just oozing quality at a level untouched by Fluke, Tektronix, or HP. When I need ohms or DC volts, though, the Fluke is a lot handier.
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